Please tell us more about yourself.
I'm Liang Yi and I'm a Year 3 SOSS student doing a double major in Political Science and Analytics. I graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a Diploma in Mass Communication in 2014 and since then I've taken up a lot of activities in SMU. Most notably, I was the Marketing Director in the 10th SMUX Biking Executive Committee, joined two overseas community service projects, did a solo cultural exchange programme in Poland – and I can't wait for more!
What made you choose to do a degree in Social Sciences and why choose to do it in SMU?
After my polytechnic education in mass communication, learning about the media and its role in society, I was certain that my interest was in the social sciences, but I still wasn't sure which discipline I wanted to take up. For the sake of university applications I settled on Psychology at first but I was hoping that I could have my first year to explore my options before committing to the subject. After reading about SMU and its unmatched flexibility in deciding majors – they even allow you to take up majors outside your school! – as well as the strong student life, I picked the school in the city for giving all undergraduates the opportunity to not just explore our academic options, but to have an intense work-life balance if we wanted it.
Please tell us about your Overseas Community Service Project (OCSP) experience.
In the summer of 2016, I embarked on what I believed was the best of both worlds – a political science study mission combined with an overseas community service project to Guizhou, China. This was an intense module on poverty and rural development in China, and there was the additional workload of working together with the class to plan our community service – this included major components such as fundraising efforts, logistical support, programmes planning and more.
Looking back, it was a fantastic experience, and one I would give my blood, sweat and tears for all over again. On my trip I taught English to children, and gathered evidence for my research paper on the potential of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in alleviating poverty. Aside from seizing the rare chance to stun friends into silence by telling them I was researching TCM, I had the privilege of interacting with enthusiastic students who shared their dreams and lives with me – one fond experience was when a student asked if I liked pigs.
“I like eating them,” I offered, without giving my answer much thought.
“No, I didn’t mean that!” she retorted, in a mix of horror and amusement, as she shared with me about her pet pig whose tail wagged when she approached, and continued to ask if I liked cows, ducks and chickens as well. (I like them all, but not in the way she would’ve liked to hear about)
OCSPs in SMU all have different goals and strategies, but what I love the most is that it’s a two-way exchange – they see and learn first-hand about a new country through us, and we learn the same through them.
What are your plans and goals for the future?
I am exceptionally privileged to be sponsored and therefore, bonded to the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) for four years after my graduation under the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS), so I know for sure that I will be working on cultivating a giving culture in Singapore. Beyond that, I hope to continue working in the social sector to help others give more, give meaningfully, and give effectively to any social cause – though who knows where I may end up by then!
Do you have any advice for prospective students who are considering SOSS, SMU?
Know what you want in your university life.
Obviously, it’s good to have a rough idea of what you want to do as a future career – that gives you something to work towards, and it helps you narrow your university and faculty choices. But don’t get fixated on what you think is your dream future career – it could change over these few years! With that in mind, your question should not be “How would this university lead me to the career I have in mind now?”, but “How would this university help develop and prepare me for my future career?” I’m quite happy to say that I’ve been given many opportunities in SMU’s Social Sciences – in leadership and academics especially – and that was exactly what I was seeking in my university life.
Last updated on 21 Jul 2016 .